Adrienne Veronese

The Knave Before Christmas


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

a rogue he was creeping, watchful for a spouse.

No husband to stop him from creeping and lurching,

no one to surprise him or stop him from searching.

Just that old rogue, once again sniffing

the delicates worn by ladies all drifting,

asleep unaware of this rogue's great weakness

which drives him their way in mid-winter's bleakness.


For this is the fate of knaves, thieves and rogues,

who live life in hiding and take the back roads.

Their weakness is women, plus mead, song and more.

And no one can bring it or land that great score

quite like the rogue archer, whose legend was lore.


As surely as archers pull back on their bowstring,

there will be mead and great songs to sing.

Songs of mischief and mayhem and thieving,

But none quite as wild as the night frost was heaving.

That night, some will say, 'twas the night of the Solstice,

and this rogue was down with a fever and poultice.

The herbs they were healing but not quickly enough

for the rogue accustomed to things that are rough.


For as he lay dreaming in fits and dark visions,

a thought came to him of a wonderful mission.

That mission, it seemed, could be done with great ease,

as it turned out to involve a flight on the breeze.

But that breeze, so he found, was colder than cold,

because the one breeze most needed blew from the North Pole.


Only it had the magic to lift him and carry

his rogue lusts into places most rogues wouldn't tarry.

But there's where he's likely to find what he seeks

those fine lacy things so perfumed they might reek

to any man but our rogue, whose nose was still clogged

from fever and cold air, so it had to be strong.


He had been to the North Pole on a time, maybe two,

but never quite saw the point of the crew

who planted the thing with its stripes and its spinning

in the middle of nowhere, probably grinning

as they left not a clue other than one:

A lacy thing designed for the delicate buns

of ladies most fancy and powdered and scented

the way some men love them, especially when rented.


And as luck would have it, most wives are alone,

for on such nights husbands are absent from home,

gone drinking and gambling on mid-winter's eves

down at the ale house where most knaves and thieves

will linger and wait for wits to be dulled

by too many mugs of wine that's been mulled.

When husbands aren't looking, those knaves they will grab

both wallets and watches and might take a stab

at gold-tipped walking canes, or fur-lined capes

whatever is easiest to snatch and escape.


But not our rogue archer, whose tastes have been shaped

by things that are harder to grab than a cape.

For once bitten by a flea on the ass of the North Pole

nothing mattered to this one but filling the role

most notably played by a man dressed in red

while ladies lay sleeping all snug in their bed.


So if you should hear on a late winter's eve

the cry of a woman float on the breeze

and it sounds like she's saying, “Who took my things”

just think of the rogue, then tie down your eaves.

For he'll study your lodgings, and then find a way

to paw through your drawers before flying away.


While the legend might live of a fat man in red

who brings gifts for children asleep in their bed

it is clearly a story designed as a ruse

so they won't suspect it's their mothers who use

the lace and the perfumes this one rogue most needs

which brings a man to their home at night on a breeze.


So if you should hear his nose as it whistles

late at night you should know 'tis our rogue with the sniffles.

Don't feed him, don't chase him, just let go your pride

and squeeze perfume onto something a bride

might remove for the first time on her wedding night.

A rogue will thank you as he swoons and then sighs

before mounting that breeze that carries him high

and draws back his bowstring as once more he cries,


“Merry winter to all, and to all some size fives.”



                             © Adrienne Veronese 2017


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